OXFORD, Miss. — Seven miles east of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, on a quiet stretch of Highway 6, a wrought-iron gate opens to a fresh mat of blacktop that climbs a small hill. At the crest, a panoramic view emerges of the sprawling estate below.
A two-level ranch that has the feel of an upscale hunting lodge sits on 150 rolling acres. Framed by Holly Springs National Forest, a 48-acre man-made pond — packed full of crappie, catfish and bass — extends to the west, back toward town. Birds chirp. Oak leaves rustle. Eight horses graze near water’s edge.
Houston Nutt wanders back there after work some days, to commune with nature and his animals.
“Those horses,” he said, “they don’t ask any questions.”
Nutt said this with the wide, tight grin that already has become familiar around town. (He was joking, sort of.) But if he relishes his privacy — besides that gate, the only evidence that anyone lives down here is a simple black mailbox — he might have been better off owning this sort of compound back in Fayetteville, Ark., where he went from respected to rejected in a matter of months last year. Things are different now.